When the mind itself is an object of perception, the rule of instinct is checked by the powers of reflective reasoning and judgment. Given the standard assumption that the supreme good is progress, why didn’t the birth of our subspecies (195,000 years ago) unleash sustained technological development? Why did the human toolkit continue adhering to long established standards, occasionally drifting this way and that, for more than 120,000 years? The first generation of our kind — and the 5000 or so that followed — seem to have experienced something we can hardly imagine today: they were contented and felt no need to innovate. When you live in harmony with nature, when the work of finding food and making shelter is both fulfilling and well within your abilities, why seek progress? Despite the danger of predator attack, most people lived past 60 in excellent health....... and then came the Toba event- the biggest volcanic eruption in 400 million years.